Golf Buzz

Coldwell Banker
C.B. Macdonald's mansion at Chicago Golf Club includes 6,020 square feet of living space, and a unique place in the history of American golf.
Chicago Golf Club in Wheaton, Ill., owns the distinction of being the site of the United States' oldest 18-hole golf course. Charles Blair Macdonald, often regarded as "the father of American golf," founded the club and built the course in the early 1890s, and built a mansion there in 1897.
And now, that mansion is up for sale.
The five-bedroom house – known as Ballyshear – offers 6,020 square feet of living space and sits on a 1.77-acre plot. Designed by architect Jarvis Hunt, it "anchored a colony of homes occupied by members of Chicago society, who congregated around the golf club between the 1890s and the 1910s," according to The Chicago Tribune.
Its listing on describes the house as "the epitome of a refined country lifestyle in the heart of Wheaton." It goes on to say "this magnificent home combines the timeless elegance of beautifully preserved architecture with the modern amenities of an active family home" and notes that "the rich story of Ballyshear reveals much about the history of Chicago, the city's privileged, and the history of golf in America."
The house includes four full baths, three half baths, two fireplaces, a library, hardwood floors and a theater room on the top floor. Outside are a tennis court and in-ground pool.
"Four huge pillars, with Corinthian capitals, edge a semi-circular platform to form the porch, the whole making the front entrance," House Beautiful magazine said about the house in May 1899, according to The Tribune. "This imposing porch is the most conspicuous feature of the exterior of the house, and gives it its character."
Macdonald and his family only lived in the house for a few years before moving to New York in 1900. He rented it out for a while, and sold it in 1905, said The Tribune, which adds that Ballyshear has had seven owners since then.
Macdonald is one of the key figures in the history of golf in the United States, and a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. His original nine holes at the Chicago Golf Club, which he built in 1892, made it the first golf course west of the Allegheny Mountains, and when he added a second nine the next year, it became the country's first full-length course. 
Macdonald also played a key role in creating the U.S. Golf Association, and served as vice president after it was founded in 1894. He also won the inaugural U.S. Amateur Championship in 1895, making him the first official national champion. His 12 & 11 defeat of Charles Sands in the final remains the largest winning score in the event's history.
Macdonald went on to design some of the United States' most prominent early courses. Among them are National Golf Links in Southampton, N.Y.; Yale Golf Club in New Haven, Conn.; St. Louis Country Club in St. Louis, Mo.; and the Old White course at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va. He also created the course at the Mid-Ocean Club in Bermuda.
October 22, 2015 - 11:53am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Jonathan Byrd
With darkness setting in, Jonathan Byrd abruptly ended a playoff in Las Vegas in 2010 with a walk-off hole-in-one for his fifth PGA Tour victory.

Five years ago this week, Jonathan Byrd provided arguably the coolest ending to a tournament you'll ever see.

On the fourth hole of a playoff at the 2010 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open with Cameron Percy and Martin Laird, Byrd was the last to tee off on the par-3 17th at TPC Summerlin, a 203-yard hole.

RELATED: New long-drive champ nearly covers four football fields with winner

That's when he did the unimaginable: he made a hole-in-one to close out the tournament and pick up his fifth PGA Tour win (he's had one more since).

Check it out here:


October 22, 2015 - 9:13am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Tim Burke
What does it take to win the World Long Drive Championships? Just a few pokes that register in the FOUR FOOTBALL FIELD range. That's what Tim Burke did on Wednesday night.

The World Long Drive Championships is a sight to behold.

Last night in the final from Oklahoma, Tim Burke -- the 2013 champ -- walloped a winning drive of 394 yards to take the title for the second time. As you'll see in the video at the bottom of this post, that drive was hit with a wind blowing into Burke, which makes it even more impressive.

RELATED: Low blow -- man's bank shot turns into bad news for golf buddy

And that wasn't even his longest drive of the competition. The 6'6", 230-pound Burke had drives over 400 yards -- FOUR FOOTBALL FIELDS, FOLKS! -- in the quarter and semi finals.

For perspective, Anirban Lahiri won the PGA Championship Long Drive Competition at Whistling Straits in August with a 327-yard smash...

... Which brings me to one of my favorite old golf jokes that Burke could use on Lahiri:

Burke: "Did you hear about the new Wal-Mart they're building?"

Lahiri: "No. Where?"

Burke: "Between my ball and your ball."

For the win, Burke took home $150,000.

Here's the entire final Long Drive match between Burke and runner-up Jeremy Easterly:


Oh, and here's video from Lahiri's win at Whistling Straits:


Maria Rodriguez
Maria Rodriguez via Instagram
We don't know where Maria Rodriguez's shot ended up, but we do know it started out in a very unusual location.
OK, I'm not sure where this shot fits in the pantheon of golf trick shots. I'm not even sure it counts as a trick shot. 
But I am sure I've ever seen anyone do this before.
The golfer swinging the club is University of South Florida junior Maria Rodriguez. The young lady serving as the human teebox is her freshman teammate, Maria Merchan.
Does this count as freshman hazing? Or are these two just extremely confident in Rodriguez's swing? I don't know, but I do know this – I would never volunteer to play either role in this particular shot.

Things you can do with a big butt and a good golf swing @nanimerchi

A video posted by @marirodriguez on

Back to the Future
TaylorMade via Twitter
TaylorMade showed us drivers from then and now in a "Back to the Future" setting.
As I'm sure we all know by now, today is "Back to the Future Day." In the 1989 movie "Back to the Future Part II," Marty McFly (played by Michael J. Fox) travels to the future – October 21, 2015 – to save his yet-to-be-born children.
The movie, as best as I can recall, was pretty good, and lots of people are having lots of fun with the date today. My colleague Mark Aumann even showed us a "Back to the Future"-themed golf cart that some folks up in Canada have built.
A lot of the big golf equipment companies have made note of the day on social media as well, and some of their posts are well worth sharing. My favorite one is from TaylorMade, showing us drivers from then and now in a "Back to the Future" setting. It's directly below, followed by some of the other best ones:
And then, to cap it all off, there is this little cinematic jewel from Gary Player and the guys at Callaway. Enjoy – and remember to charge up your flux capacitors:
Sammy Schmitz
Chris Keane/USGA
Getting to Augusta National has gotten a lot easier for U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Sammy Schmitz.
Remember Sammy Schmitz – the guy who recently clinched his victory in the U.S. Mid-Amateur by making a hole-in-one on a par-4 hole? By earning that title, Schmitz received a place in the 2016 Masters.
That's the good news. The bad news – all his expenses involved in practicing and playing at the Masters are on him.
So on Sunday, his wife Natalie set up a GoFundMe page to try to raise a few bucks to mitigate some of the costs that Schmitz – a 35-year-old regional director for a health care company in Wisconsin – will incur. 
"We currently live in a small town in Wisconsin where the winters are filled with snow and the cold temperatures will make it almost impossible to practice," Natalie wrote when she launched the page. "Being a nurse I can only pick up so many extra shifts to help support my husband."
And in three days, they raised $25,000!
In fact, they got so much money so fast that they have called a halt to the proceedings.
"I have decided not to accept any more donations until further necessary," Schmitz wrote in an update on the page today. "I started this fund less than three days ago and can't believe how much support we received locally and nationally."
The money that Schmitz received will be "governed" by the Minnesota Golf Association, and Schmitz plans to use it to help pay for his preparations, including some practice rounds at Augusta National before Masters week. Any money left over, he said, will be donated to the MGA.